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Zicam Lawsuits Filed in Texas

Aug 13, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

More Zicam lawsuits have been filed  by people who claim the recalled nasal versions of the cold remedies caused them to lose their sense of smell.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers not to use three Zicam nasal cold remedies. The agency said it had received 130 reports of anosmia—loss of sense of smell—in people who had used the product. Following the FDA alert, Matrixx Initiatives recalled two of the products: Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs. The company had already withdrawn Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, Kids Size, the third product named by the FDA.

At the same time, the FDA issued a Warning Letter to Matrixx. In the letter, the FDA said Matrixx had failed to inform it of 800 anosmia reports linked to the recalled cold remedies. Matrixx has admitted that it did not pass along those reports to the FDA, but has maintained that its legal counsel advised it was not required to forward those reports to the agency. In the Warning Letter, the FDA warned the firm that the products cannot be marketed without agency approval and also stated that the three Zicam nasal remedies did not include adequate warnings about the risk of loss of sense of smell.

Since the Zicam recall, Matrixx Initiatives has been named in several class action lawsuits filed by people who blame the nasal remedies for their loss of smell. It also faces a class action lawsuit filed by investors that stems from the recall.

The latest Zicam lawsuits were filed  in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas.  One lawsuit, filed on behalf of Sherrin Dawn King on July 31, claims King purchased and used Zicam's Allergy Relief Nasal Gel Swabs to treat a cold in January 2008.  The lawsuit alleges that she used the product several days in a row and that by March she had lost all sense of smell.  King claims that she still has not regained her sense of smell, and that her sense of taste has also been severely impaired.

The second lawsuit, filed in the same court on August 4, claims that Maria E. Head began using Zicam nasal swabs in the late spring of 2008.  The complaint alleges that after using the swabs as directed, Head experienced "a significant burning and/or stinging sensation inside her nose." However, because that was "followed by a slight sense of relief from her symptoms," Head continued to use the product for several days, according to the suit.  By the third day, Head alleges that she realized she could not smell and sought medical attention.

Both plaintiffs are seeking more than $75,000 in damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, physical injuries, medical expenses, attorney fees, pre-and post judgment interest.

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